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AudioKit’s free and open-source Synth One looks better than many paid-for iPad instruments

A labour of love that everyone can enjoy

The fact that AudioKit has released a new iPad app, Synth One, is interesting in itself, but perhaps even more noteworthy is the story of how it came to be created.

This is being billed as “the first ever professional open-source iOS synth”. It was built over two years by 100 volunteers, including sound designers for the likes of M83, Tycho, and Rihanna. The instrument is completely free, with no ads and no sponsors, and no one involved in the project has gained financially.

This is even more impressive when you consider Synth One’s specs: it’s a hybrid analogue/FM poly with five oscillators (including an FM oscillator) and two assignable LFOs. You also get a 16-step sequencer, an arpeggiator, filters, ADSR envelopes for amp and filter and a multitap delay. There’s MIDI Learn for all knobs, too.

As things stand, Synth One is compatible with Audiobus 3 and Inter-App Audio, with Ableton Link and AUv3 support to come in due course. MPE MIDI support is also on the development roadmap.

This looks like a no-brainer download for iPad musicians: you can do the necessary on the Apple App Store.

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